URGENT: Syrian army soldiers take full control over Aleppo’s Old City
Syrian government forces have reportedly liberated the entire neighborhoods in Old City of Aleppo as part of a large-scale military operation to flush foreign-backed Takfiri militants out of the strategic northwestern city.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that Syrian soldiers had established complete control over the historic area after militants withdrew in the face of army advances overnight.
The Britain-based monitoring group noted that the Takfiri terrorists “were forced to withdraw from the Old City neighborhoods of Aleppo for fear of being besieged.”
The Observatory said the militants withdrew from the last parts of the Old City after Syrian army units, in cooperation with allied fighters, restored security to Agyul and Bab al-Hadid neighborhoods of Aleppo, located some 355 kilometers north of the capital, Damascus, late on Tuesday.
The Syrian forces also secured the safe departure of more than 200 civilians from the liberated areas, and captured a number of terrorists there.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian army had liberated Karm al-Dada, al-Sha’ar, al-Marjeh and al-Sheikh Lutfi districts in Aleppo as well as Tallet al-Shurta hill east of Aleppo.
The Syrian army and allied fighters from popular defense groups are now in control of more than 75 percent of eastern Aleppo.
There are reports that over 300 civilians have left militant-controlled eastern districts of Aleppo to safe districts over the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, other reports say foreign-backed militants have called for a five-day truce in the face of the government forces’ steady gains in the northern city.
Russian colonel killed in Aleppo
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry says a Russian army colonel, working as a military advisor in Syria, has succumbed to injuries sustained during a militant mortar attack in Aleppo several days ago.
“Ruslan Galitsky passed away in hospital as a result of his serious injuries. Russian army medics fought for several days to save his life,” the ministry said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Russia is engaged in an aerial campaign against Takfiri terrorists in Syria since September 2015.
On Tuesday, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which would have mandated a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo, saying the draft proposal put to vote did not include any talk about the exit of gunmen from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.
Moscow and Damascus are against lengthy pauses in anti-terror battles in Aleppo, saying such truces would merely help the Takfiri militants rebuild their strength.
In a Wednesday statement, the Kremlin said a possible US-Russia deal on the exit of militants from eastern Aleppo was still on the agenda, adding that Russian and American experts remain in contact over the issue.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov further said those militants who refuse to leave eastern Aleppo are “terrorists” who are siding with the notorious Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.